Crowds of visitors can be found jostling for space in front of the meerkat enclosure in Viennas' Schönbrunn Zoo. The reason for this is the three baby Meerkats with their black button eyes and snub noses that are beginning to discover their surroundings.
“The lively triplets were born on February 20th, but as Meerkats are blind and naked at birth they spend their first few weeks in the safety of their burrow” says Dagmar Schratter, the Zoo’s director, who is delighted about the offspring of this popular species. “With ten animals we now have a really extended meerkat family”
The three mini-meerkats are still being suckled by their mother but in a few weeks time the first insects will be added to their diet. The mother is not the only caregiver for the young animals. Meerkats live in social groups and each animal has clearly defined duties. Only a few days after their birth, a member of the clan assumes the role of “babysitter” and keeps an eye on the little ones while they play with each other, dig around in the sandpit or get up on their hind legs like tin soldiers. Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannahs in the south of Africa.